Saturday, April 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Tampa General chief off to strong start

Jim Burkhart is off to a strong start at Tampa General Hospital. In less than a year as president and chief executive, Burkhart has underscored the hospital's mission to the poor; strengthened ties to the University of South Florida, its main academic partner; and carved a new business vision that promises to make the region a healthier and more dynamic place to live. This is good news for an institution that is a lifeline for so many and an economic driver for the entire region.

Burkhart has wasted no time in learning about the area and finding a direction for TGH since arriving in March. He has affirmed the hospital's historic mission as a safety net provider, sketched an ambitious vision for expanding primary care, and created a framework for building new clinical and specialty care facilities aimed at improving health care across a wide swath of Florida.

Balancing the need to grow the business while providing charity care and serving as USF's main teaching hospital is not easy in the evolving health care market. Burkhart's experience at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, another nonprofit affiliated with the University of Florida, gives him a sensitivity for these dueling challenges. He speaks carefully about building on the hospital's 3 percent operating margin, mindful that Tampa General is a nonprofit community provider. And he has calmed area concerns by making clear that the hospital and USF are long-term partners, breaking through an impasse to sign a new three-year medical education affiliation agreement that automatically renews.

Burkhart is also adding detail to the new partnership Tampa General announced with Florida Hospital, part of the Orlando-based Adventist network that operates locally in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. Tampa General will not abandon its local mission but will team up on new specialty care facilities. Burkhart also wants to make services more accessible by incorporating some outpatient care under a "big box" facility west of downtown.

Burkhart understands Tampa General's strengths and the strong connection the region has to what U.S. News and World Report named last year as Florida's best hospital. The role he sees in providing charity care, an academic environment and specialized services — from organ transplants to burn care — will build the hospital's reputation for excellence. Burkhart has also stepped comfortably into his role as a leading voice for safety net hospitals in Florida, arguing for the state to accept federal money to expand health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. His vision of creating a delivery system to make the community healthier is the right priority for Tampa General. And it promises to strengthen the ties of the hospital in the political and civic fabric of Tampa Bay.

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Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
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Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

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The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

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Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

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Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

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Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

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Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

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Updated: 04/16/18